Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Public Use

The Service has a long tradition of providing opportunities for public enjoyment of aquatic resources through recreational fishing, habitat restoration, and education programs and through mitigating impacts of Federal water projects. As the population in the United States continues to grow, the potential for adverse impacts on aquatic resources, including habitat will increase. At the same time, demands for responsible, quality recreational fishing experiences will also increase.

Our goal is to provide quality opportunities for responsible fishing and other related recreational enjoyment of aquatic resources on Service lands, on Tribal and military lands, and on other waters where the Service has a role. This is accomplished by working with the National Wildlife Refuge System, National Fish Hatcheries, and the Department of Defense to enhance fishing opportunities for the public on federal lands, and by providing hatchery fish and technical asssitance in support of recreational fishing and outreach activities.

In the Midwest Region we celebrate an abundance of aquatic resources. Some examples of contributions to recreational use are listed below:

Native sportfish restoration in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior
Lake trout and brook trout are raised for restoration in the upper Great Lakes. Most naturally reproducing stocks of lake trout diminished in the mid-1990s in Lakes Huron and Michigan because of overfishing and predation by sea lamprey, a blood and body fluid feeding aquatic invastive fish. Today, almost any lake trout you catch is a direct product from our National Fish Hatchery System. We are even conducting a study to determine what size of fish provides for the best quality and survival after stocking. Lake run or "coaster" brook trout that reached large sizes and were prized by sport fishermen were once a staple of Lake Superior and other areas of the Great Lakes. We are currently raising brook trout from wild Lake Superior origin in National Fish Hatcheries for stocking to restore this native species.

Sea Lamprey management benefits the economy and ecology of the Great Lakes.
The sea lamprey can kill up to 20 lbs. of fish over 6-12 months of its 5-20 year life cycle. It shares habitat with salmon and trout in the cold, deep waters of the Great Lakes and has the largest impact on these valuable sport species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been controlling the sea lamprey since the 1960s and has reduced their populations by 90% of pre-control levels. Our efforts have directly benefitted sport fishing and the economy of the Great Lakes, which is driven in large part by sport fishing and recreation. Sea lamprey are here to stay and spawn in 433 rivers and streams along the Great Lakes - each female laying up to 60,000 eggs each. We will continue to control sea lamprey to preserve the fishery into the future.

Educational programs benefit schools, environmental conservation groups, and the general public.
Education and understanding are oftentimes the key to further enjoyment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fosters the simple wonder of fish and other aquatic species by educating the youth and people of all ages about these animals that live in another world. Oftentimes people don't see a variety of fish, mussels, or other organisms unless they are fishermen or naturalists. Education about the unique qualities of different species and their role in the aquatic ecosystem is valuable to provide an appreciation for this part of our environment. We staff outdoor festivals and events and provide brochures, posters, and other hands on materials- as well as actual live or preserved fish specimens.

Fish passage restoration allowed access to spawning and nursery areas.
Many river-running fish that benefit from the Fish Passage Program are also sport fish including brook trout, walleye, and chinook salmon.

• Fishery management assistance provided to Native Americans, National Wildlife Refuges, and other federal lands. Efforts to improve fishery habitat and encourage healthy fish communities on federal lands benefit the fishery and fishing overall.
Wild fish health surveys identify pathogens that may threaten our wild fish. We examine wild fish for disease agents and overall health in an effort to identify problems before they become an outbreak that has longer lasting and more widespread effects.